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The Hebrew language contains many fascinating aspects but one in particular is the ability for one Hebrew word to contain capacious description. Here, in this week’s parasha, there is a unique word and it describes an exclusive occurrence.

“but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome (zara) to you, because you have rejected the L-RD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, ‘Why did we come out of Egypt?’” Numbers 11:20

As if the disturbing imagery was not enough the word for loathsome is zara and is only used here out of the whole Tanach. The main reason this falls under the category of interesting is because the unique word zara appears with a unique punishment. All who are alive have the breath of life in their nostrils but the irksome group ignored the blessings and selfishly pursued their own desires. As punishment it was as if the true desires of their heart were manifested publicly.

“Therefore G-d gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,” Romans 1:24

Remember our prior way of life? Remember our vain pursuits before G-d graciously saved us through His Son?

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” Ephesians 2:3

The Bible possesses a repertoire of horrific descriptions but nasally excreted quail is an original. With this in mind the punishment for complaining becomes intensely serious. Hopefully reading this passage and understanding the punishment will reveal the severity of complaining against G-d and distrusting His promises.

In conclusion, this week’s portion contains a subtle allusion to the beginning of the Days of Messiah.

“The L-RD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting.’” Numbers 10:1-3

Note that the purpose for the trumpets was to summon the people and gather them together in a specific place. Now look at Yeshua’s declaration in the Gospel of Matthew.

“And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” Matthew 24:31

G-d’s consistency is undeniable. Just as He gathered His people through a trumpet blast in the wilderness so too will He gather His elect. Prepare. Stay alert. For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

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